Local

Pilot killed as small plane crashes in Fresno County

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A pilot is dead after a plane crash in Fresno County.

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Eyewitnesses said they saw the plane swerve back and forth before it crashed. The plane ended up on canal bank along Barstow near Chateau Fresno around 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office says they think the plane and the pilot are from out of the area and were just flying through the Central Valley. An Eyewitnesses said me there was a loud boom before the plane lost control.

Investigators say the pilot was the only person on board. Eyewitnesses that rushed to the scene say the pilot appeared to have died on impact.

"It was just like a pow -- and the TV went out," said Linda Star. Star and her husband thought a car had crashed into a power pole. Once they heard emergency sirens, they walked outside and saw the wreckage.

"It's a little scary."

Just before the plane crashed, it clipped power lines along Barstow. That made it dangerous for the dozens of first responders on scene, but PG&E crews showed up soon after to shut down the power. At one point - more than a hundred homes were left in the dark.

Crews worked late into the night to replace the damaged power lines. The plane crashed just several hundred yards from nearby homes.

"I know when I pulled up on this; I was very relieved to see where the plane was. Again, when the reports first came in, we were concerned someone on the ground could have been hurt or was hurt," said Brent Stalker with the Fresno County Sheriff Office.

The Sheriff's Office says no one on the ground was injured.

Investigators say they're still trying to find out if the pilot reported any trouble during the flight.

"It's just so early, I don't know if he did or, made any contact with the tower," said Stalker.

According to FAA records, the plane is a Cessna 172 -- a single-engine plane that seats four people. It was manufactured in 1979 and Action News has learned it was registered to an owner in Walnut Creek in the Bay Area.

The FAA initially misidentified the plane as a single-engine two seater, but later revised the description.

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highway city, fresno northwest, fresno county, plane crash, local
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